Morning Reads

Good morning — and a happy 75th birthday to Joyce Carol Oates. It’s also national Fresh Veggie Day, so eat some fresh veggies if you’re so inclined.

Seems like the appropriate ship –> Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the carrier USS George H.W. Bush into the Arabian Gulf as violence continues to escalate in Iraq. ALSO: As explosions rocked Baghdad, Nabih Bulos reports for the LAT that ISIS militants released gruesome photos of Iraqi soldiers they claimed to have executed around Tikrit. AND: Liz Sly and Abigail Hausloner report for the WaPo that militants have captured the city of Tal Afar — and that the US embassy in Baghdad is evacuating many employees. ALSO, TOO: Wikileaker Chelsea Manning writes — from prison — that “the United States military controlled the media coverage of its long involvement there and in Afghanistan,” and urges people to be skeptical of their coverage now.

Siding with Big Oil over Mother Earth –> Sahil Kapur reports for TPM that “Republicans are considering using a must-pass government funding bill to block President Barack Obama’s new rule to limit greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants.”

It’s all about the money –> Tea party groups knocked out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, but his replacement, Kevin McCarthy, is another “establishment man too close to the Big Money boys,” writes Digby at Salon.

More chaos –> Israeli forces have sealed off the West Bank city of Hebron in a massive operation after three teens were kidnapped last Friday. Peter Beaumont reports for The Guardian that Israeli officials blame Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The former deny the charge and the latter note that the boys went missing in an area under Israeli military control. AND: Joel Greenberg reports for McClatchy that a group using ISIS’s name took responsibility for the kidnappings.

Looking on the bright side –> Paul Krugman is kind of… upbeat about Obama’s presidency, and thinks “there’s a very good chance that 2014 will go down in the record books as one of those years when America took a major turn in the right direction.”

Why Brazilian World Cup protesters are so furious –> An excerpt from Dave Zirin’s book offers an explanation at In These Times. 

Hell on wheels –> At TNR, David Dayen writes that just two days before the horrific accident that left one man dead and comedian Tracy Morgan in critical condition, “the Senate Appropriations Committee quietly loosened the laws governing truckers’ hours on the road.”

Armed ideologues –> Texas “open carry” activists have returned to Target, drawing the retailer into a fight with a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense. Mark Follman has the story for MoJo.

Slipped away –> WaPo’s Greg Miller has an interesting story about how US officials were hoping Edward Snowden would slip up while in transit so they could nab him.

Hillary –> Paul Steinhauser reports for CNN that a new poll suggests that Democratic voters are not all enthusiastic about a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy. He says there’s more room for a challenger to run on her right than her left. AND: At TAP, Paul Waldman questions the conventional wisdom that Clinton has to win over liberals to succeed — and says Republicans are worried about her candidacy.

Boondoggle –> We’ve invested $40 billion in a missile defense system that can’t even hit an incoming missile when we know when it was launched and its precise flightpath. David Willman reports for the LAT.

What could kill a three-meter great white?” –> That’s what researchers are asking after a tagged great white shark was eaten in the waters off of Australia. If you’re thinking “sea monster!,” not so fast. The most likely culprit, according to NatGeo’s Jane Lee, is another great white shark.

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